Two things are most on the mind of bettors this time of year: which starters are playing and what are the conditions of the game. I can't tell you either one of those things right now, but what I can tell you is that sportsbooks have proved vulnerable this time of year if you're willing to embrace "lesser" teams. Here are the cover rates by underdogs, by month, during the regular season over the past decade:
If you're a totals bettor, there an interesting reversal of course when we get into January over that stretch (over rates by month):
It would seem that sportsbooks are overreacting to the unknown. The point spreads have been too high (thus the strong ATS cover rate for underdogs) and the totals have been lowered too far. Use these trends and the below notes for each team to build your bankroll for the postseason!
Thursday 8:15 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys (-9.5, 42) at Tennessee Titans
Cowboys ATS: 9-6
What we know about the Cowboys: "America's Team" has seen five straight games go over the total (2-3 ATS over that stretch).
Titans ATS: 8-6-1
What we know about the Titans: The Titans have lost five straight and they've failed to cover all five of those games (unders are 3-2).
Sunday 1:00 p.m.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3, 39.5)
Panthers ATS: 8-7
What we know about the Panthers: The Panthers have covered five of their past six games and each of the past three has gone over the number.
Buccaneers ATS: 3-11-1
What we know about the Buccaneers: The Bucs starting this season 2-0 ATS might prove to be the greatest red herring of recent memory.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-5.5, 52)
Bears ATS: 5-9-1
What we know about the Bears: Week 2. That was the last time a Chicago game that went under the total was not played against an NFC East team.
Lions ATS: 10-5
What we know about the Lions: The Lions had posted elite numbers against the run since Halloween and covered seven straight games as a result. They coughed up 320 yards on the ground to Carolina last week ... and no, they didn't cover.
Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders (-2, 40.5)
Browns ATS: 7-7-1
What we know about the Browns: Nov. 20 ... that was the last time a Cleveland game went over the projected total (five straight unders).
Commanders ATS: 7-7-1
What we know about the Commanders: After a 6-0-1 stretch ATS, the Commanders have failed to cover three straight (no more than 20 points scored in any of those games).
Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants (-3.5, 40.5)
Colts ATS: 6-9
What we know about the Colts: The Colts have failed to cover three of their past four games with the lone exception being Week 15, when they allowed the largest comeback in NFL history to occur.
Giants ATS: 11-4
What we know about the Giants: The G-Men have covered four of their past five games, and that's good, but it hasn't come without a sweat as three of those covers came by less than a FG.
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5, 41)
Cardinals ATS: 7-8
What we know about the Cardinals: The Cardinals are seeking consecutive covers for the first time since Weeks 4-5.
Falcons ATS: 8-7
What we know about the Falcons: After an easy under in Week 16, four straight (and six of seven) Atlanta games have gone under the number.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-13.5, 45)
Broncos ATS: 6-9
What we know about the Broncos: Overcorrection? The Broncos have seen three straight games go over the total, this coming on the heels of eight straight unders.
Chiefs ATS: 6-9
What we know about the Chiefs: All of Kansas City's past three covers have come in games where the under has hit, a reminder that projecting these high-powered offenses to light up the scoreboard isn't always the script that plays out.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4, 43.5) at Houston Texans
Jaguars ATS: 7-8
What we know about the Jaguars: The continued growth of Trevor Lawrence has been underestimated by the books up to this point: three straight covers and a 4-1 stretch for overs in Jacksonville games.
Texans ATS: 7-7-1
What we know about the Texans: The Texans continue to battle and it continues to benefit those backing them (three straight covers) and under bettors (5-2 over their past seven).
Miami Dolphins (-1.5, 43.5) at New England Patriots
Dolphins ATS: 7-8
What we know about the Dolphins: The Dolphins are 4-7 ATS in their past 11 regular-season games played in December or January (6-5 ATS in their past 11 games before the winter months).
Patriots ATS: 7-7-1
What we know about the Patriots: Unders are 5-2 in New England games when the Pats cover, 4-4 otherwise.
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (-7, 44)
Saints ATS: 6-9
What we know about the Saints: After four straight overs, unders are 7-1 in New Orleans' past eight games.
Eagles ATS: 8-7
What we know about the Eagles: The Eagles had a negative average "over margin" (total points in relation to projected totals) through 11 weeks, but their games have seen 76.5 more points scored than expected in the five weeks since.
Sunday 4:05 p.m.
New York Jets (-2.5, 43) at Seattle Seahawks
Jets ATS: 8-7
What we know about the Jets: Remember that exciting start to the season for the Jets that featured a 3-2 run for overs? Yea, it's been a while ... overs are just 2-8 since and the Jets have totaled just 32 points over the past three weeks.
Seahawks ATS: 6-9
What we know about the Seahawks: Seattle has not covered a single game during this collapse that has seen the Seahawks drop five of six games outright.
San Francisco 49ers (-5, 44.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
49ers ATS: 10-5
What we know about the 49ers: Six straight covers for the 49ers, their longest streak since stringing together eight straight in 2011.
Raiders ATS: 7-8
What we know about the Raiders: Overs are 5-2 this season when the Raiders cover the spread.
Sunday 4:25 p.m.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-3, 47)
Vikings ATS: 6-8-1
What we know about the Vikings: Over bettors have cashed in five straight Minnesota games. The Vikings are 2-1 outright over their past three, but they've failed to cover all three of those games.
Packers ATS: 7-8
What we know about the Packers: The Packers have covered three straight as they continue their late run into the crowded playoff run in the NFC.
Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5, 40.5)
Rams ATS: 5-9-1
What we know about the Rams: The Rams went 3-1 ATS in December, not bad for a team that failed to cover five straight entering the month.
Chargers ATS: 9-5-1
What we know about the Chargers: As exciting as we want the Chargers to be, under tickets have cashed in each of their past four games.
Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3, 36)
Steelers ATS: 8-6-1
What we know about the Steelers: Pittsburgh's late push toward another .500-plus season for Mike Tomlin has included a 4-1 ATS run after Saturday night's comeback win over the Raiders.
Ravens ATS: 6-8-1
What we know about the Ravens: Two of Baltimore's first three games this season went over the total, but just two of 12 games have done so since.
Monday 8:30 p.m.
Buffalo Bills (-1, 49.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Bills ATS: 6-7-2
What we know about the Bills: The Bills enter this week looking to cover consecutive contests for the first time since Weeks 5-6.
Bengals ATS: 12-3
What we know about the Bengals: As explosive as the Bengals are, unders are 4-1 in their past five games (in those games: 18.2 PPG allowed).